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Odger Miner
(1905-1968)

 

Monalea and Odger

Odger Miner -- no middle name -- was born on May 21, 1905 in Washington, Washington County, PA, the eldest son and one of seven children of Harry Orlan and Armena V. (Cain) Miner. He had no middle name.

 

Brothers Odger (R) and Orlan

Odger is seen at right holding his younger brother Orlan Lloyd Miner, circa 1908.

In the mid-summer of 1919, when Odger was 14, his father died unexpectedly of a stroke. Faced with the overwhelming heartache, and the need to support his widowed mother and three younger siblings Orlan, Jessie and Anna, Odger made the difficult decision to leave high school and get a job. He found employment as a machinist at the old Hazel Atlas Glass No. 2 plant in Washington, where in 1926 he earned a whopping total of $1,616. He was a member of the American Flint Glass Workers' Union, and his name was published in the union's Quarterly Report of the National Secretary Treasurer in 1928. (Click here to see a rare old postcard photograph of the plant.)

On Jan. 2, 1928, at the age of 23, Odger married 21-year-old Monalea Eleanor Ullom (1907-1977), the daughter of Lantz Hupp and Maude Alice (Hinerman) Ullom. (The Ulloms owned Ullom's Hardware, Wallpaper and Paint Store for many years on West Chestnut Street in Washington.) The wedding took place in the morning in the parlor of Monalea's parents' home on North Franklin Street so that Odger could then go to work without missing any time.

The spring after they were married, Odger and Monalea honeymooned at the famed Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, PA. They were photographed standing at the monument to the 9th Battery, Massachusetts Artillery, along the Wheatfield Road.

 

Honeymoon at Gettysburg

When the Hazel Atlas plant closed, in about 1928, the Miners relocated to the growing steel town of Aliquippa, Beaver County, PA. Odger found a steadier, better-paying job Peoples Natural Gas Co., which was supplying fuel for the booming Jones & Laughlin Steel factory as well as expanding residential communities. He remained with People for the next 40 years. He also ran a side business, Gas Appliance Service. On many cold snowy winter nights, including more than one Christmas Eve, Odger and his sons went to customers' homes to repair mal-functioning gas furnaces and other gas appliances. 

 

The family, early 1950s

The Miners' four children were Odger "Wayne" Miner, Richard "Dean" Miner, Marjean Lee Jones and Donald William Miner. All three sons served in the US Armed Forces -- Wayne during the Korean War, Dean during the Japan Occupation and Don during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Initially the young family made their home on Irwin and Reed Streets in bustling Aliquippa. During that time, Odger suffered from painful stomach ulcers, thought to have been caused by his dread and fear that he might die young, as his father had at age 42. For a time, he could only drink milk to soothe his stomach. Only after he surpassed the age of 42 did he lose this anxiety, and fully recover his health.

In 1936, Odger and Monalea purchased two lots in the new subdivision of Sunset Hills in nearby Hopewell Twp.  They built a Cape Cod style house on McKinley Avenue, into which they moved in the late winter of 1936. They expanded by adding to their small dining room, and constructing a larger garage. They enjoyed hosting family get-togethers and other social events at their home.

 

   

Expansion of the Miners' McKinley Avenue house -- from the day after they moved in 1936 (left) to the spring of 1949

 

On the frozen Ohio River, 1936

In the winter of 1936, Monalea and sons Wayne and Richard "Dean" took a walk on thick ice of the frozen Ohio River in Aliquippa, seen here, not far from their home. On the back of the snapshot, Monalea wrote: "This was taken out on the river two weeks ago. It was solid clear across and heaped ice cakes taller than I am. We were probably a third of the way across when this was taken." Later, when the ice melted throughout Pittsburgh's three rivers region, it caused what is considered the worst flood ever to engulf the City of Pittsburgh and environs.

Aliquippa in 1936 was undergoing a profound change as an industrial community. That year, tempers flared widely as the city's largest employer, Jones & Laughliln Steel, was engaged in a battle over wages and working conditions with unionized workers. When the company fired employees who were union members, they filed suit with the National Labor Relations Board. The largest picnic in the history of Aliquippa was held in September 1936, drawing 60,000 spectators who enjoyed a parade of marching and floats, with events "held at three locations, a park in Plan 11, Franklin Field, now Morell Park, and Ravine Park, which was the center of activities," said the Beaver County Times. It was in this environment that the Miners avoided being drawn into the conflict by moving up to the heights.

In 1943, Monalea was a candidate for Hopewell's Judge of Elections and Supervisor of Elections. She remained interested in public and community service throughout her life.

Despite the fact that he only had an eighth grade education, Odger served from 1947 to about 1952 as a school board director and/or secretary of what today is the Hopewell Area School District. During his tenure, a new junior-senior high building was constructed, and the district undertook a major  merger with two other districts (Independence and Raccoon), which was pioneering in the field of public education at that time. 

Odger is mentioned and pictured in The Viking high school yearbooks during that period of time, many of which are preserved today in the Beaver County Genealogy & History Center at the Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls, PA. As well, Odger is named and pictured in a 1953 study of the merger published by University of Pittsburgh researchers William Yeager and William Byers, entitled A Limited Educational Survey of Hopewell Independence Raccoon Joint School. A copy of the Pitt study is in the Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Archives. Among the board directors with whom he served were Mona Lang, B. Albert Smith, Lawrence F. Blaney, Frank Manges, Myron E. Rowley, Dr. G.B. Rush, Pearl Temple, C.L. White, Michael Kalenek and H.B. Roberts.

 

Above: Odger, 4th from left, with the Hopewell school board circa 1948. Below: the Hopewell Junior High School today, built during his tenure on the board.

Odger, 2nd from right, on the Brockway truck

Odger also was an active Boy Scout troop leader and a director of both the Hopewell Township Volunteer Fire Department and Hopewell Firemen's Relief Association. The fire department was created in 1940, four years after the Miners moved there, after a major fire occurred on South Heights Road. Two years later, in 1942, the department members pooled their funds to purchase two old fire trucks from the Aliquippa Fire Department -- a 1916 Brockway and 1918 American LaFrance. According to Aliquippa historian Gino Piroli, a columnist with the Beaver County Times, the fire department was the unofficial center of the local Republican party during those years. Seen here, Odger stands second from right on the running board of the Brockway truck, along with Hopewell volunteer firemen Lester Ramsey, Clyde Spieker, Walter Ramsey and R. Lee Ramsey. 

(The Brockway fire truck image was the Minerd.com "Photo of the Month" for April 2014 and was further reprinted by the Beaver County (PA) Times as part of its "Vintage Views" feature on April 28, 2014.)

An actual fire hall building was constructed in 1945 at the corner of Brodhead Road and McKinley Avenue, just down the street from the Miners' dwelling at 3006 McKinley. As a boy, the founder of this website attended fish fries and an auction at the fire hall over the years.

The Hopewell firemen knew how to poke fun at themselves during parades. They would place a box of old engine parts in a compartment in the engine area of the truck. When driving up to the judging stand, one of them would pull a string causing the parts to fall to the ground with a loud clattering sound, and another would make the truck backfire, adding more sound effects. Then they would run to the front of the truck, gather back all of the parts, and continue driving along. The stunt was guaranteed to amuse spectators, time after time.

 

While a schoolboy watches in wonder, Odger drives a modern firetruck, with the old Brockway truck following behind

 

Continuing their interest in history, Odger and Monalea were founding members of the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society, a region in the south side of Beaver County. He collected antique lamps, and one later was donated to the Baker-Dungan Museum at the Beaver Campus of Penn State University. A local newspaper once said his lamps were important:

 

Odger and
grandson Mark

...not only for their own value locally, but also in the wider context of their relation to county, state and national history....  Many of his lamps have been collected locally, for example, one said to be from the old Academy in New Sheffield, but he has obtained others from Boston to Florida, and throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the W.Va. panhandle.

Odger and Monalea were active in church and attended the CM&A Church in Aliquippa. Later, they joined the Ohio United Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, where he was a trustee for many years. He also was chairman of the Department of United Church Men of the Council of Churches of Beaver County. At right, Odger holds grandson Mark at a family get-together circa 1962. 

During the 1950s, after Odger's uncle Will Miner became ill, he came to live temporarily with the Miners in Hopewell while he received medical treatment. Will's health returned, and in gratitude for the kindness, but without Odger's knowledge, he went to the bank to pay off Odger's mortgage. When he discovered that Will had tampered with his finances, even in such a positive way, Odger was furious.

The Miners are known to have traveled to Florida in the summer of 1956 so Odger could attend the Lions International Convention in Miami. On that trip, they visited at the Tampa home of Monalea's favorite uncle, George Allen Hinerman (a.k.k. "Hineman"), a veteran of the Spanish-American War. During that trip, Odger and their son Don joined Lions Club friends on a fishing trip in Miami, and Don hooked a three-foot, 18-lb. dolphin. A photograph Odger, Don and the prized catch was printed in the Beaver Valley Times (July 12, 1956).

Odger passed away on Feb. 4, 1968, at the age of 62. He was laid to rest in the family plot in Washington (PA) Cemetery, which he had purchased a little more than a decade earlier.

 

Monalea as a docent at Old Economy Village

 

Ohio U.P. Church, Aliquippa

Monalea outlived Odger by nine years. She took a dream vacation to Europe in the summer of 1969, visiting England, Italy, France and Spain, among other countries. She also became involved in many community activities, including as a volunteer docent at Old Economy Village in Ambridge. She also volunteered with the Baker-Dungan Museum at the Beaver Campus of Penn State University.

She died on Oct. 25, 1977, at the age of 70, in Aliquippa Hospital, after a battle with stomach cancer. She was laid to rest beside Odger in Washington Cemetery, directly across the road from the graves of her parents and married sisters Thelma Riggs and Mildred Day.

Today, the Miners' names adorn a beautiful blue memorial stained glass window in the Ohio UP Church sanctuary in Hopewell.

 

Wayne Miner, P.E.

~ Son Odger "Wayne" Miner, P.E. ~

Son Odger Wayne Miner, P.E. (1930-2012) was born on March 19, 1930 in Washington, PA. 

He grew up in Hopewell and was a delivery boy for the Beaver Valley Times newspaper. He also helped his father install and repair natural gas furnaces in customers' homes in the area, often on freezing cold nights when the appliances gave out, and once or more on Christmas Eve.

At the age of 27, on July 6, 1957, he married Constance Irene Jagerski, daughter of Frank J. and Helen (Balysh) Jagerski Sr., of Monaca, Beaver County. They enjoyed 55 years and one day of married life together.

They had three sons -- Mark Alan Miner, Scott David Miner and Eric Wayne Miner.

Wayne  was a 1948 graduate of Hopewell High School, Aliquippa, and was class vice president. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army. It was seeing the Golden Gate Bridge as a soldier, and knowing that it was fabricated in Ambridge, that inspired him to become a civil engineer. He received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1958 from the University of Pittsburgh, and went on to a 39-year career as a highway engineer with the firm Richardson Gordon & Associates and its successor, HDR Engineering, retiring in 1997. 

 

Crosstown Boulevard, I-579, in Pittsburgh

He was involved with the design of the Crosstown Boulevard (I-579), completion of the Fort Duquesne Bridge (Bridge to Nowhere), White Swan interchange I-376, Sewickley Bridge, sections of the Ohio River Boulevard and many other works in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. A licensed professional engineer (P.E.) and surveyor in Pennsylvania, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He and his professional colleagues were featured as the Minerd.com "Photo of the Month" in January 2008.

Wayne and Connie and family resided in the Pittsburgh suburb of Perrysville until the birth of their youngest son, at which time they moved to Franklin Park Borough in Wexford, Allegheny County. They were active in many organizations involving their three sons' school and sports activities, as well as traveling extensively in Europe and to many of the 50 U.S. states. He loved classical music and was a season ticket holder of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He was a longtime member of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church and enjoyed its Friday Men's Group. Having suffered two strokes in the span of four years, he died at home on July 7, 2012, surrounded by his family, hymns, prayers and many tears. Burial was in the Miner family lot at Washington Cemetery.

 

Alyssa Miner's silver
bracelets with lettered 
names of loved ones

Son Scott D. Miner is married with four children. He is a physician with Cape Cod Healthcare in Harwich, MA, specializing in family practice with a focus on preventive medicine, acute and chronic care, and pediatrics. He also is the medical director of a Cape Cod physicians practice group. Scott's wife Alyssa (Hurwitz) Miner creates custom jewelry and formerly owned her own business, Unique Designs By Alyssa. Among her creations have been bracelets for mothers, grandmothers and others, made of sterling silver with accents in 14K gold and 14K gold-filled beads, spelling out the names of loved ones. A sample is seen here, featuring the names of her sons "Jake" and "Jordan."

Son Eric Wayne Miner is married and has two children. He sells steel and metal products for Beaver Steel in the Pittsburgh area.

Son Mark A. Miner is the founder of this website, and president of the national Minerd-Miner-Minor Reunion. Based in Beaver, PA, he is CEO of his own public relations consulting firm, Mark Miner Communications, LLC, and Minerd.com Publishing, LLC. Among his books are Forged in Steel: The Seven Time-Tested Leadership Principles Practiced by the Pittsburgh Steelers, co-authored by Tunch Ilkin and Damian W. Williams; and Well At This Time: The Civil War Diaries of Ephraim Miner. In 2005 was elected to the Renaissance Hall of Fame of the Public Relations Society of America for his work in the legal, accounting and engineering professions. As a service to the community, he is chairman of the Beaver Area Heritage Museum, a board director of the American Cancer Society, Pittsburgh Unit, and president of Malin Bergquist Charities Inc., a non-profit devoted to the fight against cancer.

~ Son Richard Dean Miner ~

 

Richard Dean Miner's gallery of original carvings

 

Richard's carving

Son Richard Dean Miner is an accomplished sculptor in Daytona Beach, FL, who specializes in creating wooden carvings of wildlife figures and madonnas, which he paints or stains for effect. One of his creations, from 2002, is seen at left. 

Richard's wife, Mae (Horne) Miner, is a native of York, PA. She published her first work of fiction in 2005, 

 

Pastor Beloved

Pastor Beloved: Finding the Spiritual in Religion, under the pen name "Eva Mae Ely" to honor her mother and grandmother. In a review, the York (PA) Daily Record said that the "graduate of York Hospital School of Nursing and Millersville University said she was moved by her experiences working in hospice care to write about book that would discuss the questions people often wonder about: 'Who am I?' 'Why did I come here?' 'Where am I going?' ... [The book] features a pastor struggling with his identity and faith" and making detailed comparisons between spirituality and religion. A thumbnail image of the book's cover is seen at left. The paperback volume is available for sale on Amazon.com -- click here to order -- with a review on RoseDogBookstore.com. Also read her poem, When I'm Ready to Die, Let Me Go.

Richard has three children -- Lesley Shumard, Laura Treece and David Richard Miner.

Daughter Lesley Shumard is married and has two sons. She formerly wasemployed at the Tampa YMCA as operations manager and wellness director.

Daughter Laura Treece has a son and two grandsons. She worked for Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc., in the Tampa area and today is employed in a local law office.

Son David Richard Miner is the founder of a website, DivingInDepth.com, that connects scuba divers around the world to information ranging from dive travel, diving news and training to technical cave and wreck diving, forums, shopping, gear, careers/jobs and education. In 2006, he was part of the team that videotaped the planned sinking of the USS Oriskany aircraft carrier in Pensacola, Fla., and later taped their dive of the wreck. He also is the former publisher of Adventure Racing Magazine, which covered multi-sport endurance challenges such as kayaking, canoeing, biking, trail-running, hiking, climbing, swimming, mountaineering, rafting, and orienteering. David's wife, Cynthia (Kraski) Miner, is a realtor with Keller Williams Realty of Manatee in Bradenton, FL, and is profiled on the company's website.

 

   

DivingInDepth.com (left), which features video of the sinking and underwater remains of the USS Oriskany carrier, among other wrecks

 

~ Daughter Marjean Lee (Miner) Jones ~

Daughter Marjean Miner married Gordon Sykes Jones (1931-2014), a native of Butler, Butler County, PA and the son of Edward and Martha (Sykes) Jones. 

Upon graduation from Westminster College, Marjean taught school in Hopewell for more than three decades, including fifth grade at the Margaret Ross Elementary School. She is mentioned in Belle Adams' 1982 book, The History of Beaver County Schools, Vol. 1, published by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation, a copy of which is preserved in the Minerd.com Archives.

Gordon grew up in Aliquippa and helped care for his younger siblings after the early death of his father. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956, returning home following his discharge. He was a lending officer with Mellon Bank in New Sheffield (near Aliquippa), and completed his career as branch manager of the bank in Aliquippa. Active in the community, he served on the board of directors of the Salvation Army and Beaver Lakes Country Club, and was a longtime board member of Ohio United Presbyterian Church. He also was a member of the Woodlawn Masonic Lodge.

After Marjean and Gordon retired, they moved to Daytona Beach, FL so they could play golf year round. They joined Port Orange Presbyterian Church and Pelican Bay Country Club, where Gordon was active in leadership roles. They hosted many visits from northern relatives, including the founder of this website.

Gordon passed away at age 82 on March 1, 2014. His ashes were placed at rest in a memorial garden at their Port Orange church.

~ Son Donald William Miner ~

Son Donald William "Don" Miner was born on July 19, 1940, sharing a birthday with his grandfather Harry Orlan Miner and also a grand-nephew born many years later.

Don married Barbara Brown. They have two children, Heather Ann Miner and Matthew Jay Miner.

His first job at age six was delivering the Pittsburgh Times and Sun Telegraph newspapers. He was a 1958 graduate of Hopewell Township High School. After serving for four years in the United States Air Force, he attended and graduated from Pennsylvania State University. Don worked for more than 40 years as a land surveyor in western Massachusetts, for Huntley Associates of Northampton and for Eaton Associates of Hadley. Included in his areas of expertise are historical deed research and project management. He was quoted and mentioned in numerous local news articles over the years for his work representing clients' interests at public meetings.

He is a former member of the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers. He pursued additional education through its program of seminars in the areas of land survey and business management. Don is a graduate of and was an instructor for the Dale Carnegie programs. 

In his spare time, Don has been a member of the Hampshire County Radio Controllers for more than 25 years, serving in the capacity of treasurer, vice president and president. He has built from scratch and flown radio control model airplanes for over 35 years. He has been very active in the Episcopal Church, serving on the church’s Vestry, as its treasurer for many years, and as its Senior Warden. He is an avid gardener. 

Daughter Heather Miner attended Holyoke Community College and works as an administrative assistant. After 45 years, Don and his wife Barbara sold their family home in Northampton, to move closer their daughter Heather, currently residing in Holyoke. Heather has two children: Sara Monalea and Andrew Dustin. Sara is a cum laude graduate of Elms College and a law student at Western New England Law School. Sara is a sessions clerk with the Massachusetts Trial Court. Andrew has been accepted by Holyoke Community College and plans to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice.

Copyright © 2000-2003, 2006, 2009-2012, 2014-2016 Mark A. Miner